By Laramie Knox, Editor-in-chief
Licensed specialist in school psychology (LSSP) Julia Harris has been working for the past three years to help provide parenting resources to the suburbs of HEB that used to only be available in downtown Fort Worth.
“We didn’t have anything out here,” Harris said. “There were resources available, but parents don’t want to drive all the way to Fort Worth after work when they need help.”
After working with the Parenting Center in Fort Worth, Harris and the other LSSPs of the school district have provided free parenting workshops, where they give methods for difficult topics such as “Managing Temper Tantrums and Time Outs” for elementary school students and “Communicating With Your Teen” for junior high and high school students.
While parenting is different for each family, the tools provided at these workshops are universal to all styles.
When it comes to discipline, “it’s all about changing your verbiage,” Harris said. “Saying ‘when you clean your room’ instead of ‘if you clean your room’ makes children more complacent.”
These tips are easy to implement in any household and have been helpful to all families in the district.
“It’s mostly single moms that come,” Harris said. “But we usually have 20 to 25 parents show, which is a good turn out.”
Harris has said that the parents attending these workshops have developed close relationships with one another, and often share parenting tips of their own.
The workshops provided are flexible to the changing times of technology. Within the past year, a class called “Preteens in the Wireless Age” has begun, in which parents learn about the dangers of technology that young adults have access to.
Harris said many LSSPs agree that “kids don’t know how to interact socially” due to an early introduction of screens, so future workshops will be focused on technology and how manage screen exposure at younger ages.
In discussing new issues like technology, Harris has also been talking about parenting children with ADHD.
“When we test kids for disabilities, it’s usually behavioral problems that come up,” Harris said. “We teach parents how to handle hyper-active behavior.”
In addition to behavioral issues, Harris would like to discuss more social issues in the future such as sexual education and dating.
Four years ago, these issues were discussed at an intense expo held at the First Baptist Church in Hurst.
“We used to bring in female prisoners and have them tell their stories,” Harris said. “We didn’t even give them a topic, just let them speak freely.”
While these expos for teenagers no longer happen, Harris is hoping that these parenting workshops help out the parents in the community with their relationships with their teens.
“Parents often want to treat their children as friends, but there is a hierarchy in a family.”
Harris hopes that teens will encourage their parents to go to these workshops, because in the long run they benefit the entire household.
The most recent workshop, “Parenting a Child with ADHD,” was held Feb. 13 at Harrison Lane Elementary.